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A conscious acknowledgement of our common purpose as fulfilment without harm so we may organise ourselves, our justice systems, our economies, our organisations, and our societies to enable our pursuit of it. The organising principle of fulfilment without harm must override the pursuit of money and/or power. Specifically: (more...)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

A Universal Income (Work & Education)

"Human nature is such that no central body can meet or even determine the needs of all people, because all people are different, doing different things at different times and in different ways. A universal income ensures that people can provide for their own needs according to what they need, how they need (in what quantity and form) and when they need.

A universal base income, paid without means testing to all, ensures some base of financial security, with which all of us can meet our base needs for food, shelter and education, which as others have said, are human rights. These 'rights' are also the requirements for people to live fulfilling lives without (any need to) harm others.

I don't believe others should determine how we spend the base income we need to live. When others control or determine what we do, when we do it, how we do it, then we do not have the freedom to live as we believe best suits ourselves or to make our best contribution that reflects who we are and where we see a need.

Yes, education should be free, and the knowledge is out there, for free, now. If there's a cost to education now it is because of the requirement imposed on us to be 'certified'. When knowledge is 'everywhere' (everywhere there is an internet device and connection) then I question the requirement of institutional attendance as a matter of course.

For children of course, education is a requirement. They are learning everything at that age and it our responsibility to ensure they can learn. A basic education up to adulthood needs to be provided for all (although the means can be flexible) but on reaching adulthood how people study (what, when and how) should be up to them.

Unfortunately an education does not free us to make our best contribution according to who we are and where we see a need. Our choice of an institutional course or paper may be one of the few choices we get as we follow a path of content determined not by our interests but by the interests of the teacher and curriculum, and our course 'contributions' will more often than not be the required regurgitations of others thoughts, not our own.

Once we then enter the 'workforce' we will even more likely find that the learning we undertook in the educational institution has no application in the jobs it was supposedly meant to educate us for. And that the work we are required to do, we may eventually find after time, is structured not so we can make our best contributions according to our abilities to best meet the need, but according to production targets (including set hours and place of work) that we must meet rather than meet the need, because it is determined by the hierarchy that our work must be reported on so it can be controlled.

What I have found, is that trying to make our best contribution, according to our abilities and where we see the need, is not catered for by our system. That, indeed, if we try to do work we find fulfilling, that we direct, then the result is more often poverty, regardless of education. Indeed, it may be that over time contribution will be followed by earnings from the trade in it, but without a secure universal income to enable us to develop and contribute over the period when earnings do not arise then our choice of contribution is not sustainable. I think if a universal income existed then immediately an enormous amount of human potential would begin to be realised and in ways that fulfil those realizing it.

It may (it will) mean a change in the way we conceive and organise work, in the way we work and live. If money and control aren't the means to organise (or exploit) others then work must be such that it provides a means for us to express our talents in ways that we don't see as wasteful, in ways that are, by ourselves, freely chosen. And if there is work that nobody wishes to do then we will need to find other ways to do it."

[This post is from a discussion on 21st Century Network's LinkedIn Group: "A universal income, a shared base income, a guaranteed income, ... has it's time finally come? Do we now have the courage, the understanding, and the trust to make this happen?"]

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